- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I am grateful that Wesley Pruden featured my story in his thought-provoking piece, “The death penalty is not what it used to be” (Page A4, Friday). Indeed, the death penalty is coming to an end, and its death rattle can be heard around the world like a crack of lightning.

However, if I were on that shipwrecked boat, woke up from being stranded and saw the gallows, I would surely gather myself up in a hurry, run to the wreckage, grab hold of a piece of it and paddle my way back out to sea. This sentiment is undoubtedly shared by many of my fellow exonerees and current members of our organization, Witness to Innocence, who have witnessed firsthand the cruelty, imprecision and tragedy of our criminal justice system.

Since 1976, 142 death row exonerees have been released from our modern-day gallows. I am a witness to innocence and so are 141 others whose lives were almost mistakenly cut short. The death penalty has no place in our society today. It is an expensive and broken system, and because of what my brothers and sisters and I have each experienced, the death penalty itself deserves the last death sentence our government hands out.

This is not a right-wing or left-wing issue. It is a right or wrong issue, an issue of innocence. Thank you, Mr. Pruden. I’m glad you are a witness to innocence as well.

KIRK BLOODSWORTH

Advocacy director

Witness to Innocence

Philadelphia